There’s something so satisfying about a movie delivering exactly what it promised. So it goes with Once Upon a Deadpool, a PG-13 retelling of the Merc with a Mouth’s sequel, Deadpool 2. What it lacks in expletives and gore, it makes up with new scenes and a frothy tone unhampered by its more violent outbursts.
Remember when you’d watch movies on cable and whole scenes would be missing? Curse words were very clearly overdubbed? That’s basically what Once Upon a Deadpool is, but with the usual meta commentary from the superhero himself included. Just like the original films, Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) is in on the joke. To facilitate this, the recut film is framed the same way as The Princess Bride, with Deadpool “kidnapping” an adult Fred Savage, recreating the bedroom from the movie, and forcing him to listen to Deadpool retell the plot of the film, complete with crayon-illustrated book. It’s a clever device that lets the characters comment and critique their own film.
In terms of actual plot difference, things feel a little choppier when you leave gory explosions out of a character known for violently murdering his adversaries and getting violently beat up in return. This means some of the darker elements of the original are toned down, and there’s more of a focus on the jokes and banter. Not to say that’s a bad thing. It’s still just as funny, especially with breaks from Savage and Deadpool dissecting plot points. Plus, most of the scenes stay the same, just with less blood splatter.
Clearly, Once Upon a Deadpool is a money grab, hoping to lure in younger audiences who’ve been unable to see it in theaters. Though, really, what teenager doesn’t know how to sneak into an R-rated film? There are enough added scenes and bonuses that any fan of the franchise should walk away feeling satisfied, even if they did just pay to see a watered down version of a film. Deadpool is one of the few series that can pull off such a stunt, since being self-referential is the shtick. Here’s hoping other series don’t start getting similar ideas. Justice League: Let’s Try This Again, anyone?